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The future is bright for Paeroa College’s 2023 Dux recipient Grier Buchanan. Photo: DAVIDDA HIKATANGATA

Community spirit a focus for Paeroa Dux

Strengthening community spirit is something that Paeroa College Dux for 2023 Grier Buchanan holds dear.
It’s no surprise that the 18-year-old Year 13 student was Head Student of Community and received an Hauraki District Council OnYa Award for service to the community this month.
When asked about a significant moment from her time at Paeroa College, Grier reflected on a special campaign she and a friend initiated and ran around mental health awareness.
“My friend and I, Jamie-Lee Owen, she’s the head student of well being… we ran an event called ‘Run for a Reason’ this year in honour of two students from our school [who died] last year,” she said.
Grier was moved by “seeing the community come together” in solidarity around something that was not only significant to her, but also to those in the community.
“A highlight [was] seeing what impact you can actually have.”
Grier is no stranger to giving her best and seeing the fruits of her labour come to fruition, but hearing her name called out during the Dux announcement was something else.
“It was pretty overwhelming to be honest. That’s the moment when it hit that I was actually finishing school. I think it was like a combination of all my hard work, and I’m not actually gonna be seeing these people again,” she said.
“The whole school got up and did the haka, that was cool. I was crying.”
After a focused year of poring over her subjects and learning everything inside-out and back to front, she said it “felt good” to have accomplished this academic endeavour.
“I’ve worked really hard over the year, so I think for it to pay off is really nice.”
Her motivation for staying the course and studying hard was linked to “not putting too much pressure on myself”.
“I’m trying my best at everything I’m doing. You can only try your best, you don’t have to go beyond that,” she said.
With subjects such as physics, biology, and chemistry up her sleeve, it’s a no brainer for Grier to follow her love of science at university next year.
“I’m doing a bachelor of science next year, potentially majoring in chemistry.”
When asked about what opportunities being Dux will bring, Grier said it would help with university scholarship applications, though she has already been offered a University of Auckland Academic Potential Tier 1 scholarship.
“I know that it has an impact on Otago scholarships which is really cool and exciting.”
Grier wants next year’s Year 13 students to make the most of their final year.
“Try not to put too much pressure on yourself.
“Year 12 is the stats that the uni’s look for scholarships and stuff, so Year 13 is about enjoying your year and really soaking up what high school has left for you.”